This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Philippines: Day Nine

Today was a treat. My auntie Tess was taking me for a body scrub. Tim was to get a massage and CJ was getting a facial. 

But with the treat came the bad. Today was also the day my auntie Cely was going in for her chemo. It was a bustle in the house as everyone was anxious about getting her to the hospital. She would be in for 24 hours and my auntie Mher would stay with her. So it was the yin and the yang; the high and the low. 

Tim and CJ had left earlier in the late morning, getting restless and deciding to take a tricycle to MarQuee Mall to window shop. About 20 minutes after they left, auntie Tess arrived, ready to roll. They (Tim and CJ) were just going to have to wait. 

Actually, our ride was going to return for them. :)

So I went with my auntie Tess and her BFF. When it was time, they gave me a towel, flip-flops, and disposable underwear. That was hilarious. Big granny panties that were made from the material that shoe covers are made from. 

Our first treatment before the body scrub was a sauna treatment. At first, I thought it was going to be a steam room kind of thing, which was a bit daunting as I sat in an enclosed wooden thing...with my head popped out. I thought: if this room fills with steam, I am going to freak out, enclosed in this coffin. I soon realized that I was slowly getting hot within, then figured out what this was. it was then that I was able to relax and enjoy the moment. Auntie Tess and I had great conversations about various things. I truly enjoyed hanging out with her and her friend. 




After the sauna, it was off to the body scrub. The room was nice, with sheer curtains dividing between each massage bed, that looked warm and inviting, vs. the sterile, operating room-like beds I've seen in the states. 

Once I layed down, she started massaging me. And this was heavy-duty, put-your-body-into-it pressure. It was wonderful. And my masseuse was a tiny creature. But she had some firm hands and there is no apology - she just goes for it, no-holds-barred. I cannot stand paying for a delicate massage...which happens often even when I ask for more pressure. 

After an unfortunately brief massage, the scrub begins. All it is, is a grainy product slathered on, then scrubbed vigorously. This is a wonderful experience but not for the faint of heart: it is abrasive. But that's the pleasure of it for me. 

The funny part for me was how she flipped the disposable underwear under my butt cheeks and worked on my ass. I felt bad for her...but I withheld my beavis-and-butthead snicker and enjoyed the butt rub. 

The worst part of getting these decadent treatments is that each limb that gets attention is one step closer to the end. I have to figure out how to tune my brain out from thinking about how it's almost over. 

When she got to my head, there was a special 'massage' which was the 'pulling-of-the-hair' massage. This was no gentle tug; it was full on: grab a handful of hair and PULL. It hurt but you know, I liked it a lot. I know. I am a sicko. 

Once sadly finished, it was off to the shower. Ahhhhh...  I felt so refreshed. My skin was glowing and smooth. And all of this, when converted to dollars, cost my auntie Tess (she treated) barely $9. 

It wasn't long thereafter that Tim and CJ showed up. They were off to do their special treats and their rest of us ventured into the streets of Balibago, to hit Rosas, where I could find souvenirs for my friends. 

Once they were done and refreshed, we headed back to our place with plans to go out to the casino later. Tim, me and the girls headed back up to our apartment for rest and relaxation. We were supposed to meet downstairs at 7 to head out with auntie Tess and her friends but somewhere, something went awry. I don't know exactly what happened but it certainly was family drama with some pissed off people somewhere. Tim and I sat in naive ignorance, despite the air seemingly odd. But it eventually became clear, when 8:30PM rolled around that we had been stood up. 

But we were fed well during the drama-sode. My mom got us a Shanghai buffet of food. 

Shanghai is a Chinese restaurant that we went to during special occasions: visitors, weddings, etc. Food aplenty would be ordered, including a common delicacy here: bird's nest soup with quail eggs. My mom managed to buy that, along with seafood rice, seafood canton, broccoli with mushrooms, and shanghai rolls. It was wonderful and better than I remembered. 

Jhun, who had been in Manila for the day, he showed up in the evening and took us out to The Oasis hotel's pub. That was such a nice, spontaneous thing to do. We met up with his friend Mike, who had recently arrived back from China on business. 

The pub, thankfully, had Corona. I haven't felt like drinking since I've arrived here...the food is very filling, the time change has mucked me up, and it just hasn't been desirable. But it must be all in the setting since, once I entered the bar, I was ready for my beer. And coronas are not prevalent here...but being on the American side of town made it so. 


We enjoyed a great band playing and eventually, a group of Japanese business people who had a bottle of tequila to down during the night. I spied on them and made my commentary to Tim all of my favorite activities. 

Jhun ordered fishcharron, which was like chicharron but with tilapia skins. It was quite tasty, even for a non-exotic eater like me. But at one point, Jhun asked if I liked it, which I enthusiastically replied Yes! It's quite tasty! And he said: you know, it's not really tilapia. OMG. I was about to kill him. Because the skin was striped and actually looked like snake. He then laughed and said he was kidding, that his friend Mike put him up to it. HA. HA. HA. 



The night came to a close and we actually got back close to midnight. The girls, with their cousins, spent the evening hearing about tik-tiks, capris, aswangs, and other haunted Filipino folklore. They watched Insidious and we were told of lots of screaming taking place while we were out.

It was a great way to end our final night here, despite the drama. Tomorrow is really our last day but the fact that we leave at 6AM means we have to leave here about 2 AM to get to Manila airport with plenty of time to spare for any unseen obstacles. 


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